At the beginning of September 2013 a young Polish skier from Zakopane, Andrzej Bargiel, set off to the Himalayas to scale Shishapangma (8013 m) and ski down from its central peak to the base at the foot of the mountain without taking off his skis – and alone. The goal was achieved. Today, together with his Team, he has finished the last stage of the preparations for another ski expedition. This time the young mountaineer will try to beat the record time in the ascent of two eighthousanders, Manaslu and Cho Oyu, and ski down from the top of them both.

photo: Tomasz Rakoczy (

It's been nearly a year from the beginning of Andrzej's original project, Hic Sunt Leones. Bargiel is a multiple Champion of Poland and one of the best ski mountaineer in the world. In 2010 he set the world record in speed ascent of Mount Elbrus. Last year he became the first Pole to ski from the top of an eighthousander to its feet without taking off his skis. Bargiel tries to reach his goals in the way nobody has done before. Quick summit attacks on skis and riding down from the peak to the feet of the mountain are with no doubt pioneering achievements which make their mark in the history of ski mountaineering.

photo: Marcin Kin (

The Hic Sunt Leones Team will set off to Nepal on 30th of August. The goal of the expedition is to reach two eighthousanders, Manaslu (8156 m) and Cho Oyu (8201 m), the 8th and the 6th peak in the world, respectively. The first one is located in the central part of Nepal, while the second one stands on the Tibet-Nepal border. Both peaks made their mark in the history of the Polish mountaineering. On one hand, the first winter ascent of Manaslu was made by Maciej Berbeka and Ryszard Gajewski, while Krzysztof Wielicki with Aleksander Lwow and Jerzy Kukuczka with Artur Hajzer opened new paths to reach this summit. On the other hand, Maciej Berbeka and Maciej Pawlikowski made the first winter ascent of Cho Oyu.

Bargiel has scheduled his summit attacks to happen between 20th and 25th of September (Manaslu) and between 1st and 7th of October (Cho Oyu). His plan is to leave the base camps at midnight in order to reach the peaks of the mountains around noon and ski them down before 24 hours pass.

photo: Marcin Kin (

Both mountains were already skied down, but none of the attempts was done by a Polish mountaineer. Also, the only ski ride from Manaslu, made by a German skier Bendedikt Böhm, was not completed. Böhm took his skis off on the icy part of the descent (at around 7300 metres) and concluded it using crampons. What's interesting, it happened a couple of months after a similar attempt was made by Andrzej. He was then a member of a Polish expedition under the "Polish Winter Himalayan Mountaineering" program. Bargiel had 500 metres left to reach the peak when he was forced to return due to difficult conditions.

On his expedition Andrzej will be supported by his brother Grzegorz Bargiel, a ski mountaineer, a TOPR (Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue Group) mountain rescuer and an international IVBV mountain guide. They will be accompanied by Dariusz Zaluski, a camera operator and a climber who reached five eighthousanders, including K2 and Mount Everest (twice), an author of numerous documentary films about mountain expeditions, and a winner of many prizes on mountain film festivals both in Poland and abroad. The last man in the Team is Marcin Kin, an outstanding Red Bull photographer who will be capturing Bargiel's challenge day by day.

photo: Marcin Kin (

Hic Sunt Leones is a Latin phrase used to describe unexplored territories and countries. The main goal of the Bargiel's project is to explore terrains and mountains unknown to skiing and set a new style of mountaineering, proving that skiing is possible even on the Roof of the World. For Andrzej, skiing down the Manaslu and the Cho Oyu peaks is just a next stage in his journey. In the following years he is planning to conquer Lhotse and attempt to be the first man to ski down from the Mount Everest without oxygen. He is also planning to reach the five Snow Leopard peaks – the sevenhousanders located in the former Soviet Union – in one month, setting up another world record.

The strategic sponsor of the whole Hic Sunt Leones project is an international logistics operator, CTL Logistics Group. For the second consecutive year Lotto Extreme has become the main partner of the expedition. The Team is equipped by Atomic (skis), Salomon (clothes) and Black Diamond (climbing equipment). Sony provided the Team with all the electronic equipment and TTcomm SA took care of their satellite communication devices. During the summit attack Bargiel will wear a Himalayan mountain skisuit developed by a Polish company, Pajak, in collaboration with a well-known Polish fashion designer, Tomasz Ossolinski.

More about Andrzej and his expedition: